Does the web and social media bring us together as a society, or does it further isolate people?

The emergence of a digital culture in modern society allows access to a broader variety of current information that the print press are slow to provide. Gillmor explains: news posted by someone from one point in the world gushes through all portals of online communication in a viral fashion that can be viewed by anyone anywhere else in the globe. As members of the virtual community are required to communicate via computers, electronic interdependence has drastically increased and transformed the world into the image of a global village. However, the convenience and instantaneity approaches the world at a cost. Internet communicators have subconsciously fabricated a cold, impersonal world where tasks can be accomplished in one place, simply by the dance of fingers on a keyboard. Awed by the advancement of technology, people have permanently trapped themselves in the global village, forgetting direct external interaction. Because technology is fast paced, humans now embrace the idea that the faster, the better; foregoing quality. As Levinson shows, denizens of cyberspace are virtual, thus conducting business and social affairs (ex. purchasing clothes and chatting online) is gaining increased popularity, despite the fact that personal exchange is absent.

Due to its complexity and universality, Postman argues that the computer commands human respect, devotion, and comprehensive roles in all activities. The internet links everyone together, and provides entertainment, news, personal information and ways to finish tasks, all with the touch of the fingertips. The avenues of convenience the internet offers allow residents living far away from each other to easily communicate, but ultimately, it physically distances all, because in reality, the internet confines a person. Tempted by the numerous channels of activities the internet caters, people are indefinitely imprisoned to a complex machine.

Additionally, the benefits and deficits of the technological craze are not distributed equally, causing social separation. According to Postman, those who understand and accept modern technology accumulate power over those who do not and inevitably form an elite group that is granted undeserved authority. This phenomenon applies to the United States, where citizens are highly receptive to new technologies due to weak traditions and meandering government systems. In order to preserve power, the elite attempts to spread technologies to other nations, pointing out the advanced features of the computer while neglecting to mention the accompanying costs.

Furthermore, the internet provides too much information at once. It relegates traditional concepts while promoting unnecessary material dependence on technological devices. As King Thamus warned, writers are now relying on external resources instead of their own, unprepared for the overload of information presented to them. Through technological portals, the internet is the main vendor for essential human needs, restricting direct human communication and undermining the values of human labor.

Because the internet contains many channels of information, the concept of danger undergoes a new meaning. Security is threatened, as anyone can choose to harm someone via the internet. Privacy is now an antiquated concept. This underlying power that everyone has socially distances people away from each other. Similarly, those who do not own computers or are detached from internet communication are alienated from society. While the world is progressing technologically, it is also moving backwards in a moral sense. Over reliance on computers consumes all facets of life (social, educational, etc). As this ABC survey http://abcnews.go.com/Business/Economy/story?id=7590263&page=1 demonstrates, the internet phenomena, though helpful in many ways, serves as a destructive blow to the future generation, whose dependence on the internet stymies intellectual thinking. It makes sense to conclude then, that society is no longer needed, as everyone owns a machine that possesses the capability to solve every problem.

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